DIY: Parent and Me Music Class

Music Classes have become all the rage with the latest generation of parents.  Living in Brooklyn it seemed like everyone had their kids in structured music classes and going to arts and crafts classes. This is a fantastic craze, but also completely possible to do on your own.  I participated in a DIY mommy and me music class with a fun group of moms and babes in Brooklyn, and now I am glad to be continuing this great activity here in Pasadena with Pre-K and K/1 aged children.  So here are a few tips to get one going:

1. You need music!  You need to download and/or learn age-appropriate songs both instrumental and with lyrics, and some finger/hand action songs are good for toddlers and young children. Some of our favorites are by Raffi, songs from Music Together, and different instrumental tracks from a variety of world music to do movement to. Banging out rhythms seems to be a really beneficial part of using drumsticks or noise-makers, so be sure to share that important activity.

2. Props.  Props are so fun for the kids. They love using finger puppets, banging sticks, rattling noisemakers, swaying with scarfs, parachutes, and whatever else you can think of to go along with the music. Much of this could be purchased from a learning resource store or bought on Amazon.  It is really not necessary to buy these things though, as there are plenty of household items that would easily substitute for any of these things, such as pots and spoons, blocks, dried beans or rice inside a sealed container to shake, scarfs or fabric fragments, a sheet, and many other things. There are YouTube videos of children’s music classes you can browse to gather inspiration.

3. People for your class.  Gather members for your co-op class from play-groups, friends, neighbors, relatives, people from your church, or even strike out on your own and start up a group on meetup.com. Babies enjoy doing this right along with older kids, and I actually think a mixed age group is best.

4. Regular time and local.  This can be done in any space large enough to move about such as a large living room, yard, gymnasium or anyplace that works for your group.  Sending an evite or requesting an RSVP may be helpful in keeping the momentum going.

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Lastly, don’t wait for a large group or class to get going!  Start doing this at home with your tots and be enthusiastic, not forceful.  This could be a fun activity for one of those rainy or snowy indoor days ahead.

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One thought on “DIY: Parent and Me Music Class

  1. Rythm sticks are great and easy to make with 2 dowels cut to size; kids get so much good experience in tapping out a simple rhythm after the adult does one and eventually making up one of their own to have the others copy. (Using the words “copycat me” is a good way to show that it’s okay to do or make something just like someone else’s—-a concept little kids tend to cry about in a more structured setting such as Kindergarten!)

    You can reinforce concepts of space by banging the sticks or whatever “high” and then “low,” “away from you” and “next to you” or “near your knee, foot, etc.” and “above your head,” etc. as all of our positions in space concepts have multiple vocabulary words to master.

    Math concepts too can be elicited by adding “plus one” and the super important concept of one-to-one matching for counting by making a movement or touching an object when counting that object, not just counting aloud with little regard to how many are actually present to be counted..

    A little bit older kids love to act out songs and poems as they sing or say them…..one of my favorites was teaching the poem: Red leaves rustle (rustle some cellophane or swish hands to get the sound)
    Red leaves bustle (show how to bustle by moving quickly but safely)
    Red leaves spin (turn around and around)
    OCTOBER’S IN! (Throw up both hands & shout-as you sit down—could be NOVEMBER’S IN! just as well..
    A very successful “dance” to this poem was when I pretended to be the tree with branches and my arms out to the sides. The kids clustered close to me and “fell” off the tree as they rustled to the ground, then bustled all about as the wind (sound effects by kids here) blew them, spun around, and sank to the ground with the last words of the poem.

    Any successful acting out play like this is enhanced by practicing a few short signals…..most important is a “Stop” signal and after just practicing that a few times, they can usually act out the song or poem or story successfully as a group.

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